The area around the Crave Church took on a completely different vibe in the middle of a windy night. An absence of street lights made the world almost completely dark and an absence of houses left the land around the street wild and overgrown, an easy landscaping for hiding.
“You’re sure no one should be there?” I asked Ronnie the question for about the third time since we left the river.
“No one stays there after hours,” Ronnie assured. “The only person who is ever really there is Bill and he’s in a wheelchair, so it’s not like he could really do anything.”
A lone light bulb dangling loosely from a tangle of cords above the front door greeted us when we reached the front door of the church. Ronnie went to work on the lock with a crowbar. He jammed the thing into the crease of the door and wrenched as hard as possible. I was impressed with how much progress he made, the wood of the door bent backwards against where the lock in the handle was instantly started to splinter and give. It only took a few wrenches before the lock gave out and the door swung open into the building.
“Easy as fuckin pie,” Ronnie muttered underneath his breath before he stepped into the doorway. “Come on, fast.”
I swiftly followed Ronnie into the darkness of the church. He shut the door behind us.
The only light now came from the flashlight app on Ronnie’s phone. He shined it down a long, narrow hallway where I remember Bill’s office resided. I followed Ronnie in that direction.
Ronnie led me into the office and flicked on a light switch. The windowless room came alive with soft light.
Ronnie waved a hand in the direction of a computer on top of a desk in front of an office chair which looked so beaten and weighed down that it might fall into pieces if anyone sat on it.
“Do your thing,” Ronnie insisted.
I sat down at the computer, woke it up and fired away. I moved so quickly, I must have had the chat log history folder pulled up in less than 10 seconds.
“Forget about that,” Ronnie interrupted my haste.
“We already know all that shit,” Ronnie explained. “Go to the regular folders.”
I followed Ronnie’s direction to the general files folder of the computer but stopped as soon as I opened it up. There was a crash outside in the hallway.
“What the hell was that?” I whispered.
Ronnie and I looked at the open office door behind us. No more sounds radiated from the area, but the initial crash was enough to get my heart rate to rise.
“Maybe someone else walked through the front door,” Ronnie muttered. “I’ll check it out.”
My brain told me to plead Ronnie to stay, not leave me alone in the office, but I think the pressure and anxiety of the situation paralyzed my system. I watched Ronnie walk out of the room.
I turned my attention back to the folder in front of me, it’s guts lying on the computer screen, endless folders upon folders with random names which didn’t seem to suggest anything. How should I even know which one to click on first?
I just started machine gun opening folders. I would open up the folder, take a quick scan to see anything which seemed like it could help our search and abandon it if I couldn’t find something soon enough, my ears still tuned to the doorway, expecting to hear Ronnie’s footsteps come back any second.
Finally, a folder named Sir Psycho Sexy caught my eye. Tucked at the very bottom of the scroll of a folder within a folder, I couldn’t ignore the name. A quick click sprawled the contents across the screen and they did not disappoint.
Lying in front of my eyes were thumbnails of photos I will never get out of my mind. I will spare you the disturbing details, but they were all of Chase with about half of them also featuring Bill and another half featuring random middle-aged men. I clicked in and out of photos until I stopped on one I could only look at for the briefest of glimpses. It was of Ronnie struggling against a rope tied around his neck attached to a ceiling.
The picture felt like a hard punch in my gut. I turned onto my side in the computer chair, my mouth coughing down towards the floor, my face flushed with blood, vomit bubbling at the back of my throat.
A creaking sound from behind me forced me to turn my gaze around. My eyes whipped over to a back corner of the room and a door I hadn’t noticed when we came was now open.
There was no verbal answer. I watched Bill roll himself through the door and into the room in his wheelchair.
“What the fuck is wrong with you” I spat at Bill.
Bill answered my question with a fat smirk and a squint from behind his glasses.
“You fucking killed him?” I went on.